Henrico County Marijuana Possession Charges

Although some states and Washington, DC have legalized marijuana, there are still strict laws against marijuana possession in Henrico County. Below, a Henrico County drug lawyer explains how Henrico County law enforcement officers treat marijuana possession in comparison to other drugs. To learn more about how marijuana possession is treated in Henrico County, contact an experienced Henrico County drug lawyer and schedule a consultation.

How Marijuana Possession Is Treated Compared To Other Drugs

Possession of marijuana is a class 1 misdemeanor rather than a felony. In addition to that, with marijuana cases prosecutors are willing to negotiate a number of alternatives and options. In some cases an attorney will be able to negotiate the charge to a lower misdemeanor that doesn’t come with some of the penalties that a marijuana possession charge would come with.

In addition, with marijuana cases there is a first offender option whereby which if the individual performs some community service and has their license suspended for six months, the charge would be dismissed assuming they comply with the court’s terms.

How Legalization in Maryland & DC Affect Henrico Enforcement

The change in how marijuana laws are treated in nearby states regarding small amounts of marijuana has definitely changed the way Henrico treats these charges.  If it’s a first offense and it’s a small amount of marijuana, prosecutors in Henrico are more apt to negotiate an alternative resolution. In some cases our negotiations can result in having the charge amended to paraphernalia which in most cases only comes with a fine and no license suspension.  Alternatively an attorney can negotiate an agreement where the charge is deferred based on community service with the ultimate goal of getting the charge dismissed.

Differences in Defending Marijuana Cases in Henrico County

One of the other issues that comes with marijuana possession cases that differs from other possession cases is the ability to negotiate alternative resolutions that just don’t exist with possession cases for harder drugs like heroin or cocaine.  In most marijuana cases, your attorney can negotiate resolutions that are not available with other charges.

With other drug cases like possession of cocaine, heroin, or prescription drugs, will often result in severe penalties and active jail sentences.

Long Term Implications of Marijuana Possession Charge

The long term implication of a marijuana possession charge is that if you are convicted there is an automatic six-month license suspension.  This suspension requires you to obtain what is called SR-22 high risk insurance once you get your license reinstated. With such a suspension you may be dealing with several years of increased insurance rates.

A conviction will also leave a permanent mark on your criminal record. This can affect everything from security background checks to student loans, things of that nature that are all governed by your ability to show a clean record.

Leniency From Judges & Juries

In most cases if it is a small amount of marijuana and it’s a first offense, the judges and juries are more lenient than they used to be in Henrico County. However, if it’s a second or subsequent offense or it’s a large amount of marijuana with aggravating factors, the judges and juries can be extremely harsh.

Do Lowered Penalties for Marijuana Cases Make Them Less Serious?

No, it is still a very serious charge that can result in an active jail sentence and permanent criminal record. Also, it can result in a six month license suspension. An attorney can request the Court grant you a restricted operator’s license for an individual so that they can get to and from work, to and from childcare, things of that nature.

In addition to that, if it’s a second or subsequent offense, even though it’s marijuana the prosecutors in Henrico County will move for an active jail sentence, despite the fact that it may be legalized in other parts of the United States.

Important Things to Know About Marijuana Possession Charge

Something everyone should know about a marijuana possession charge in Henrico County is despite the fact that marijuana has been legalized in some states throughout the country and even nearby; Henrico County still prosecutes marijuana vigorously. A conviction for marijuana can result in an active jail sentence and long-term license suspension. As a result, it is in your best interest to retain experienced legal counsel to assist on this.

Again, despite the fact that Henrico County does prosecute these charges, because it is marijuana an attorney can often help resolve the matter so that the penalties are minimized.